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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

SAR News: 21.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons will no longer be monitored by satellite after February 1

U.S.C.G. - Get the Fix...Switch to 406

121.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons will no longer be monitored by satellite after February 1, 2009

Where can I find more information regarding the the phaseout of 121.5 MHz beacons for satellite distress alerting?
Information regarding the phaseout is available from the NOAA SARSAT website:
Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the switchover?
Individuals may contact LCDR Katherine Niles ( in the Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue (CG-534)

More Information:

121.5 MHz Phase Out: The International Cospas-Sarsat Program will terminate satellite processing of distress signals from 121.5 and 243 MHz emergency beacons on February 1, 2009. After this date, mariners, aviators and other persons will have to switch to emergency beacons operating at 406 MHz in order to be detected by satellites.

Coast Guard Message

Code of Federal Regulations
Press Release
Articles on Phase Out

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Satellites will stop processing signals from 121.5 MHz
emergency beacons (EPIRBs and ELTs) on 01 Feb 2009.

Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking:

SARSAT overview graphic
picture of an emergency beacon Is your emergency beacon registered?
To enhance protection of life and property, it is mandatory that emergency beacons be registered with NOAA before installation and that information be kept up to date.
Click here for easy online beacon registration information.
Beacon Registration Website

EPIRB registration form ELT registration form PLB registration form

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SARSAT Information:

Training Presentations:

Properly Dispose of Old Beacons To Prevent False Alerts
Discarded radio beacon triggers false alarm... [read more]

A Survivor's Story
A testimonial from Rudy Snel on surviving the sinking of Sean Seamour II, thanks to an EPIRB [play audio]

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Beacon Types
There are three types of beacons used to transmit distress signals:
an assortment of emergency beacons

EPIRB: Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon for maritime use

ELT: Emergency Locator Transmitter for aviation use

PLB: Personal Locator Beacon for land-based applications

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